Murphy inspires late Hibs fightback to sink 10-man St Johnstone

St Johnstone led until the 83rd minute in Perth.

Murphy inspires late Hibs fightback to sink 10-man St Johnstone Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Murphy's late strike earned Hibs three points.

Jamie Murphy set up the equaliser and scored the winner as Hibernian came from behind to beat 10-man St Johnstone following a late turnaround at McDiarmid Park.

Saints had led until the 83rd minute, but Murphy played in Kevin Nisbet to level before netting himself three minutes later following an expert assist from fellow substitute Scott Allan to seal a 2-1 victory.

Saints captain Liam Gordon headed the hosts in front five minutes before half-time, but Craig Bryson was sent off in first-half stoppage-time after some poor decision-making.

Hibs dominated the second half and the late comeback stopped their run of six consecutive cinch Premiership defeats.

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Both sides were missing firepower. Saints were without the suspended Chris Kane plus the injured Stevie May, David Wotherspoon and Glenn Middleton. Hibs had lost Christian Doidge and Martin Boyle following their red cards in Dingwall on Wednesday, although Murphy was back on the bench after injury.

Saints handed extra attacking responsibilities to wingers Eetu Vertainen and Michael O’Halloran, while Hibs striker Jamie Gullan came in for his second start of the season.

The visitors had the early chances. Josh Doig sent an effort wide from 20 yards, Nisbet was flagged offside after netting and Josh Campbell forced a save.

O’Halloran curled wide from long range, but Saints had otherwise not threatened before Gordon rose to head home after Ali Crawford returned his own half-cleared corner. Ryan Porteous could not keep the ball out on the line.

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Hibs came close to an instant equaliser when Campbell hit the outside of the near post with an agile diving header following Gullan’s corner.

They were soon given a lifeline when Bryson went in for a studs-up challenge on Joe Newell as the ball bounced in between the midfielders. Referee Euan Anderson was yards away and issued a second yellow card. Bryson had been booked earlier for a poor challenge on Porteous.

The second half immediately settled into a pattern of Hibs attacking and Saints defending and the chances came quickly.

Paul Hanlon chested the ball down in space 10 yards out but slipped just as he was about to shoot. Chris Cadden hit the bar after Doig’s deep cross and Nisbet headed home, but Anderson blew for a foul by Campbell.

Zander Clark made a brilliant stop from Murphy’s volley, Porteous headed inches wide from a corner and the goalkeeper stopped Doig’s effort with his feet.

The pressure finally paid off when Murphy rolled the ball to Nisbet, who slotted just inside the post from 12 yards.

Hibs went looking for the winner and quickly got it. Allan kept his composure in a crowded penalty box and picked out fellow substitute Murphy at the far post with a superb piece of vision, and the former Motherwell and Rangers player side-footed home from six yards.

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Saints could not carve out a chance to level and Porteous hit the bar on the counter-attack deep into six minutes of stoppage-time before Nisbet volleyed over from the rebound.